Besides the Orson Scott Card controversy, it has been a fairly quite couple of weeks. Jennifer Nielsen’s The False Prince won a “Cybils”, and made it on the NYT best seller list for the first time. Kiersten White is starting a new YA speculative novel series. And reviewers are busy reading the Whitney Award finalists. Please send any additions or corrections to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.
News and blogs
Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince won The Cybils for Fantasy & Science Fiction. The Cybils is the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards.
Stephanie Meyer is at work on a sequel to The Host (AP).“At an advance screening of “The Host,” which premieres March 29, Meyer said she wrote the book when she was “kind of overwhelmed with vampires and red ink and a lot of people kind of having expectations of what they wanted from the next book and knowing that I wasn’t always answering those.” She reports that there may be a third Host book as well.
“Angels in America at 20: Revisiting Tony Kushner’s Millennium — and His Mormons — in the 21st Century” (Peculiar People/Patheos.com). Cristine Hutchison-Jones,author of “Center and Periphery: Mormons and American Culture in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America” (2010), and Matthew Bowman, author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith (2011), mark the occasion by reflecting on what Kushner’s representations of Latter-day Saints and their beliefs demonstrate about Mormons, Mormonism, and how non-Mormon Americans view the LDS community.
Mindy Holt will be the 2013 Whitney Award President.
Steven L. Peck was interviewed about A Short Stay in Hell, at Mormon Stories.
A blogger interview with Jolly Fish Press co-founder and publicist D. Kirk Cunningham.
Provo Daily Herald feature story about the republication of the Standing on the Promises series.
Read A Motley Vision. Lots of good posts there this week about poetry, Nephi Anderson, and Mahonri’s mind.
Mormon Punk: From LSD to LDS by Christopher Bigelow. “A memoir about how I fell away from Mormonism, got into the psychedelic-punk scene, met the devil, and did a 180 back into Mormonism.”
DRIFT: A Transmedia Prototype. DRIFT uses multiple platforms and multiple protagonists to lead audiences through a complicated and spiraling storyworld. (Met its goal of $2000).
Oz Reimagined. Edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen. 47 North, Feb. 26. An anthology of 15 stories set in the Oz universe. The collection includes “Off to See the Emperor”, by Orson Scott Card imagines the Baum family experiencing some of what became The Wizard of Oz, and “Dead Blue” by David Farland. Galen Dara, one of the illustrators in Monsters & Mormons, did the illustrations. Interview with David Farland about “Dead Blue”.
Publishers Weekly review: “Revisiting L. Frank Baum’s Oz with all-new stories, this anthology showcases up-and-coming talents as well as acclaimed writers such as Jane Yolen and Tad Williams . . . Less comforting than Baum’s original stories, this anthology will appeal to Oz lovers looking for new perspectives.”
Steven L. Peck. “Emergence”. Encounters Magazine, #6. Speculative.
New books and their reviews
Michelle Davidson Argyle. Pieces. Rhemalda Publishing, Feb. 15. YA contemporary. Sequel to Breakaway. Former kidnap victim is in love with one of her captors. Is it Stockholm Syndrome, or something else?
Charity Bradford. The Magic Wakes. WiDo Publishing, Feb. 19. Science fiction. Scientists on another planet find romance, fight to defeat an alien invasion. First novel.
Cindy C. Bennett. Rapunzel Untangled. Cedar Fort, Feb. 12. A modern take on the tale. A girl is kept locked up in a mansion, told by the woman she calls “mother” that she has an autoimmune disease which makes it impossible to go outside. Deseret News review.
Josi Kilpack. Baked Alaska. Shadow Mountain, Feb. 18. Cozy mystery. Sadie Hofmiller, #9.
Jean Holbrook Mathews. Safe Haven. Covenant, February. Historical romance. 19th century England. A woman encounters an old love, and joins the Mormons.
Greg Park. Sividious Stark and the Stadium Between Worlds. Covenant, Feb. 23. YA science fiction. 14 year old is transported across space and time, is thrown into an intergalactic battle. Park previously self-published a science fiction series. This is his first from a professional publisher.
J. Scott Savage, Air Keep. Shadow Mountain, Feb 26. YA fantasy. Farworld book 3. The last volume came out in 2009.
Aleesa Sutton. Diary of a Single Mormon Female.Self, February. A “wry and moving memoir”.
James Ure. Polio Boys. Signature, Feb. 15. Memoir. Blurb: “James Ure’s remembrance of his father’s childhood is as vivid as Stephen King’s Stand by Me, conjuring for readers another time and place—one that will be familiar to older readers with a memory of the polio pandemic and of interest to a younger generation because Ure writes with such honesty. Despite being raised a Mormon, James’s namesake father “Jimmy” took to smoking, drinking, and swearing at an early age. An even greater break with his culture was his interest in reading everything in sight at the local library, a young person’s entry into a world beyond the limits of Depression-era Utah. As the firstborn son of a voluble and controlling father, Jimmy was diagnosed with polio as a child, one of thirty million victims worldwide, but he could never forgive the Mormon elders for promising him a recovery that never came. As with many polio victims, the affliction returned to plague him as he aged. James learned the details of these experiences in his father’s outpourings. Puzzling over why fate created such dramatic mood swings in a man so dear to him, he decided to write his father’s story and determine how polio shaped his own life.”
Carole Thayne Warburton. Poaching Daisies. Walnut Springs, Feb. 23. Romantic suspense. Bears are being killed in Yellowstone.
Kiersten White. Mind Games. Harper Teen, Feb. 19. YA fantasy. Two sisters have extraordinary powers, and are trapped in a school that uses their tools for corporate espionage.
Bloggin’ ‘bout Books. .B-. “Takes a darker turn than the author’s Paranormalcy trilogy. In her latest, White uses stark, staccato prose, to create a tense, action-packed story that grabs the reader’s attention from paragraph one and just doesn’t let go. It’s exciting, for sure, but also confusing as it vacillates between past and present. In the end, I enjoyed this fast-paced read, without totally loving it. With a little more background, a little more build-up, I probably would have liked it more. Still, you better believe I’ll be reading the sequel, if only to find out what the fierce, unpredictable Fia does next.”
Kirkus: “Scarred and toughened by brutal conditioning, the girls fight back; their unwavering mutual devotion brightens the dark tale. Annie’s a rounded, co-equal protagonist, not merely an extension of her disability. (Yes, she’s magically gifted, but so are the disability-free female characters, and like them, she has flaws.) While she uses the prejudice blindness evokes in sighted people to gain unique access to Keane’s powerbrokers, Fia, more damaged, is forced to serve its ends by the founder’s handsome son, James, charismatic and equally damaged. The flashback-heavy narration, initially confusing, proves effective, constructing a temporal mosaic that holds readers’ interest and builds suspense as events come into focus. An effective paranormal thriller, even in this crowded market.”
Publishers Weekly: “Two narrators, a kaleidoscope of time snippets, the distortions of lies, memories, and precognition—White’s paranormal thriller is a tour de force of perspective and unreliability . . . The combination of supernatural abilities, clandestine organizations, sharply witty dialogue, and a supremely skilled heroine will be familiar to readers of White’s Paranormalcy books, but this story is very much its own, due in large part to Fia’s unpredictability, both as character and protégé.”
Reviews of older Books
Traci Hunter Abramson. Code Word (Shelah Books It). 3 stars.“In the past, I’ve been outspoken about how I feel about the formulaic nature of these books. Does every courtship have to take place with bullets flying? But I’m going to set aside my quibbles with the form for this review, because after six books, I’ve decided that the formula isn’t going to change . . . I enjoyed this novel more than other books in the Saint Squad series. Carina’s story was interesting, and Jay was a believable character. The climax of the book seemed to come sort of suddenly, and seemed rather, well, anticlimactic after some of the events leading up to it. Jay’s conversion also happened rather quickly and conveniently. But all in all, an enjoyable escapist read.”
Brodi Ashton. Everneath (Shelah Books It). 4 stars. “While I thought Ashton spun an interesting, complicated, literary, thoughtful story (enough good adjectives?) I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed in the final chapter to discover that I was going to have to read another book (or three) to get some resolution to the whole Nikki/Cole/Jake saga. There were certain characters who felt a little underdeveloped (both the male and female sidekicks, for instance), and I was expecting more resolution in Nikki’s feelings towards her dead mother, and now I’m seeing that Ashton is setting up a lot more drama in the future. If the next novel is as complicated and compelling as this one, I’m in– even if it’s not a Whitney finalist.”
C. David Belt, Penitent (An equivalent centre of self). “There were some positive points to the novel: the plotting and pacing was quick, so it swept the reader along at a brisk pace. And people who like vampire novels with lots of physical fighting and swords, won’t be disappointed. However, I’m not one of those people . . . The main characters are Mormon vampires, which does give the author some interesting play with LDS theology, like ideas of redemption (can vampires embrace God and give up their blood-lust? Answer: Yes. They can’t survive without human blood, but they can refrain from killing). Other doctrinal questions the author doesn’t really answer (like why would God allow creatures so powerful to interact with humans?). However, there were a couple of issues I couldn’t get over. One was the narrator’s heavy Scottish brogue . . . When I finally realized she was a two-hundred year vampire who lived in a 17-year-old body, I was just confused. Surely after living in America for so long, that heavy brogue would wear off? . . . I also had a hard time keeping the many different characters separate.”
Sian Bessey. Within the Dark Hills. (An equivalent centre of self). “While much of the novel was pretty predictable, it did have some interesting and sweet moments. The historical detail about the mines was the most interesting part of the story, in my opinion. The developing romance between Annie and Evan could have been fleshed out, as could their eventual conversion by Mormon missionaries.”
Shannen Crane Camp. Finding June (An equivalent centre of self). 3 stars. “The basic story here reads sort of like an adolescent fantasy: sixteen year old June, an aspiring actress living in L.A., gets cast for a visiting role on the top-rated crime procedural on television. On set, she meets the dreamy Lukas Leighton. June is thrilled when Lukas seems interested in her, but her best friend Joseph isn’t so sure this is a good thing. The plot was sort of predictable beyond this point (it was clear from early on that Joseph likes her–why June never really gets this, even when essentially told this by others, is sort of a mystery to me). The writing was decent, so the novel made for a quick, light read. But days after reading it, I’m still mystified as to why a crime drama would hire a teenager for a big role (that wasn’t a high school student), and similarly mystified as to why Lukas Leighton would come on to her so strongly–hasn’t he heard of statutory rape? His pursuit of June was pretty open on set; surely the producers or someone would have been worried about the legal ramifications?”
Shannon Guymon. Do Over (Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine). 4 stars. “This book is light, fun escapism. We all know how romance novels end, but the journey makes all the difference and this journey is full of twists, turns, laughter, and a look at making judgments based on outward appearances. Most of the characters are likable, though some go to extremes that seem a little over the top for that particular character. The major characters make satisfying amounts of growth as they deal with their problems and attain better self-understanding in the process.
Dean Hughes. The Wind and the Waves (Gamila’s Review).“I know there are a ton of church history novels that are set in England and whose main plot center around conversion and travelling to Zion. Yet, this story was fleshed out so well, and gave an amount of detail about the life and opportunities of tenant farmers that I found myself immerse in the historical narrative and the road blocks that it put solidly in the main characters path. Indeed, I also loved how patiently Will had to wait for the Lord to answer his prayers. I loved how even when he did set out to Zion he wondered if he was making a mistake. The characters felt so human as they dealt with their trials and struggled with their faith. The story lines about Jeff and Abby however did not impress me as much . . . Overall, despite the fact that Jeff’s storyline wasn’t as strong as their historical counterparts I still really enjoyed this novel and was really touched by the themes and character experiences explored in the book. I think Hughes did an excellent job crafting this story and portraying both the heights of faith and struggles of mortality.”
Josi Kilpack. Banana Split (Shelah Books It). 4 stars.“When I read Lemon Tart, the first book in the series, several years ago, I enjoyed the way that I could get lost for a few hours in an entertaining story that was cute and well-written. Banana Split is the seventh book in the series, is even better than the first . . . Three years ago, when I read the first Sadie Hoffmiller mystery, the whole cozy mystery genre was new to me. I’d read a lot of police procedurals, all of the Dragon Tattoo books, and every single thing PD James had ever written, and I’d come to expect violence and dramatic, scary scenes when I was reading mystery novels. Consequently, I think I misjudged where Kilpack was coming from in her novels. I made fun of her recipes and nitpicked about Sadie’s character. But now that I’ve seen that what she’s doing is intentional, and enjoyable, and getting better after seven books, I’m convinced. Three years ago I said that Lemon Tart was the kind of book I’d pass on to my mom and she’d love, but Banana Split is a book that I really enjoyed too.”
Josi Kilpack. Tres Leches Cupcakes (Shelah Books It). 3 stars.“In Banana Split, it was clear from the very beginning that Sadie was solving the murder of a specific person, but in Tres Leches Cupcakes, she seemed to be spinning her wheels. She knew there were sinister deeds going on, but she wasn’t sure what they were or who was involved. In fact, it wasn’t until the very end of the book that she knew she was working towards solving more recent murders instead of murders that had happened in the more distant past.”
Gregg Luke. Deadly Undertakings (Shelah Books It). 3 stars. “I’ve been pretty tough on Gregg Luke’s books in the past, but Deadly Undertakings is probably the most interesting and cohesive of his books that I’ve read. The premise of the story is interesting, and he does a great job capturing Salt Lake City in the book, and of making the medical examiner’s office come to life.However, I feel that the characters in Deadly Undertakings don’t feel consistent . . . I read the book in less than 24 hours, and I’m not sure that I would have felt the impetus to push on if I hadn’t been on the clock. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting read.”
Lisa Mangum. After Hello (Shelah Books It). 3 stars.“What Lisa Mangum does in her novel After Hello feels a lot like Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The idea is the same– Sam and Sara (see, alliteration in both sets of names?) spot each other on a NYC street one day just before lunch. She likes his hoodie, so she follows him, and they spend the next twenty-four hours having adventures and talking about the deepest, darkest parts of themselves. Like N&N, After Hello also uses alternating POV in each chapter, although the voices are less distinctive (and the whole book is third-person, rather than first). This is definitely the kind of book I’d hand over to my twelve-year-old, but even though it’s well-written and sweet, it lacks the spark that makes Nick and Norah something great.”
Jessica Martinez, The Space Between Us (An equivalent centre of self). “Of all the YA finalists this year, I think this is the most literary of the bunch–and it definitely deals with some of the darkest issues (drugs, gang rape, teen pregnancy . . .). It wasn’t my favorite, though. The main character, Amelia, had an interesting, smart voice . . . I get that YA doesn’t want to overexplain things to readers (that’s a sign of more MG novels), but I could have used a little more explanation at the end. I’d also like to see more of the upbeat Amelia–for so much of the novel she’s grim, which makes the novel rather grim to read. Also, Amelia comes across as a little passive: toward the end, her sister makes many of the big decisions, rather than Amelia. I’d liked to have seen a little more pro-activity on her part.”
Jennifer A. Nielsen. The False Prince (Bloggin’‘bout Books). B. “The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen has been getting a lot of attention lately. It’s easy to see why—the book’s a fun, action-packed thriller guaranteed to pull young (and old) readers in and keep them riveted until its very last word. It’s predictable in a lot of ways and I wasn’t thrilled with the “big reveal” as it felt like cheating on Nielsen’s part. Still, The False Prince has plenty of action, adventure and intrigue, which makes it a fast, exhilarating read sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys a good yarn. And, really, who doesn’t? ”
Rachel Ann Nunes. Line of Fire (Shelah Books It). 2 stars. “They shoot at each other in one place, manage to escape, then shoot at each other in another place, then Autumn eats some meat, then it repeats all over again. The whole book takes places in about 24 hours, and I bet that the characters shot most of the bullets in the state of Oregon during that time frame. I am the kind of girl who falls asleep as soon as the opening montage is done in any James Bond movie. I’ve always said that bullets are like lullabies to me, and apparently bullets in print do the same thing. They lose their ability to scare me when everyone gets shot and no one dies. While the book is well-written and I could see fans of the series liking it, it wasn’t the book to read as an entree to Autumn Rain.”
Kelly Oram. V is for Virgin (An equivalent centre of self). 4 stars. “Don’t be put off by the title here–this book was actually smart, funny, and cleverly written . . . I thought the book did a great job tackling the issue of virginity without making it religious (Val herself isn’t Mormon, although some of the kids in the book are), and the interchanges between Val and Kyle had great tension. Some of the discussions were more frank than I think young teens would be comfortable with, and I also wish the ending had left me with just a little more resolution than it did, but overall I enjoyed the book–much more than I expected.”
Aprilynne Pike. Destined (Shelah Books It). 2 stars.“I read and enjoyed the first book in Aprilynne Pike’s Wings series three years ago for the Whitneys. And in the meantime, I forgot everything that happened . . . Fast forward three years, and I’m supposed to read Destined. So I turn the first page, and I’m lost. I figure, there will be some back story, just give it some time. But no, there is no back story. Pike picks up exactly where she left off with the previous book. As I’m reading along, I don’t know who’s a human and who’s a fairy, or who is bad or who is good, or why they’re fighting. But fight they do, until the book mercifully ended 300 pages later.And that’s the problem with the YA Speculative category for the Whitney Awards. So many YA Speculative books are part of a three or four or five book series . . . As it stands, I do my best to glean what’s going on, but in a case like Destined, I find myself lost and frustrated, which is sad, because my friends on Goodreads who have read the entire series say it’s fantastic, and I feel like I’m doing a disservice to Pike (whose first book was excellent) to discount her because I was so lost, but I also don’t know what else to do.”
Brandon Sanderson. The Way of Kings (Jessica George). 5 stars. “This is what epic fantasy should be. This is what drew me to the fantasy genre as a teen. If he wasn’t already before, this book solidly puts Brandon on the shelf with people like Guy Gavriel Kay and Tolkien . . . this book was better than anything Brooks or Eddings has ever done. This is some hella world-building, characters that you want to know in real life, plus crazy cool action sequences. You want political machinations, religious and philosophical conundrums, even romance? Yeah, it’s in here.”
Branson Sanderson. The Wheel of Time Re-read:(Tor.com). A Memory of Light, Part 1, A Memory of Light, Part 2 ,A Memory of Light, Part 3 . Detailed re-readings of the first part of Brandon Sanderson’s final volumes of The Wheel of Time series. This weekly reread series has been slowly plodding through the series since January 2009. It may take another year of posts to get through the 3 volumes written by Sanderson.
Kiersten White. Endlessly (Shelah Books It). 3 stars. “When I read Paranormalcy two years ago, one of the things I loved best about the book was Evie’s voice. I know that some will say that she is annoying, but I find her glibness and enthusiasm and over-the-top teenage talk endearing (in small bursts). Evie is also funny, which is a refreshing characteristic, especially in the YA Speculative category, where characters tend to take themselves so seriously. There’s a lot of action in Endlessly, which isn’t surprising in this category. It feels that many of the books are based a lot on external conflict, which is true in Endlessly. Things happen to Evie. She’s not sure who to trust, and she makes a lot of the same mistakes (which feels like inner conflict), but she’s not especially reflective, and she’s making the same kinds of mistakes in book three that she was making in book one. Her situation has changed by the end of the trilogy, but I’m not convinced that Evie has changed in significant ways. I’m the kind of reader that really grooves on inner conflict, and when I see lots of inner conflict in a YA Speculative book, that’s a book that is a winner for me.”
Sariah S. Wilson. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back (Gamila Reviews). “I really enjoyed reading the Ugly Step-sister Strikes Back. Loosely framed around Cinderella fairy tale tropes, this novel is told from the perspective of a jealous stepsister named Mattie Lowe. Mattie is aggrieved at her inability to compete with her workaholic, absolutely gorgeous, and successful step-sister Ella, especially when Ella starts dating the guy that Mattie has loved since fourth grade. The novel has a wonderful voice and a plot line full of un-put-downable tension. I felt that the first several chapters had a few moments of choppy narrative where the narrator slowed the prose down by being repetitive, but these choppy moments disappeared as the story got rolling. I loved how all the characters grew throughout the novel and the fact that Mattie had a back bone and self-respect. ”
Melisa Leilani Larson. Little Happy Secrets. Echo Theater. Just closed, after a run of February 7-23.
Miranda Giles, Utah Theater Bloggers: “This is a play with all Mormon characters, but it’s not about Mormons. This is a play where one of the characters is a homosexual, but it’s not about homosexuality. This play deals with issues of local and national discussion, but tells the story of our families and our best friends. This is a play about one woman’s relationship with her God, but it is also about our relationship with our God. More than all of this, however, this play is a simple love story . . . I cannot overstate how hopeful I am that this play will continue to spread to audiences across Utah. Its message is beautiful and timely. It deserves more analysis than I can provide alone, especially when I am so anxious to get this review up in hopes that everyone that reads it will be inspired to see or produce the play as soon as possible. If you are in Cedar City this weekend I hope you will treat yourself to a night of laughter, heartbreak, and love at Little Happy Secrets.”
Front Row Reviewers: “While the supporting cast is superb, this play is primarily a monologue. As such, it could not succeed without a strong lead. Jessica Myer delivers in spades. She transitions from monologue to scene flawlessly, often making the switch from one sentence to the next. She demonstrates a wide range of emotion, from giddy infatuation to anxious longing to utter despair, and the most impressive thing is that she conveys this all while wearing a smile . . . I found Little Happy Secrets incredibly touching. It is an honest, heartfelt portrayal of the turmoil that can only be experienced when forces as deeply-ingrained as sexuality and faith collide.”
Young Mormon Feminists: “60 abreactive minutes of Mormon mass media redemption. It’s the kind of play that makes half of the small audience cry for all the right reasons, without even a hint of saccharin. And, again, if it weren’t for the categorically besmirching clout of Beauty and the Beast: A Latter-Day Tale or The Home Teachers, I’d say that this play alone could redeem Mormon play/screenwriting as a genre.”
Matthew Ivan Bennett. Eric(a). Plan-B Theater, SLC, Feb. 28-March 10. Bennett is not Mormon. A one-person show, about a 50-plus year-old transgendered man, formerly Erica, an LDS mother of two.
Eric Samuelsen preview (based on seeing rehersals): “At this point, we’ve fallen in love with Eric. This is in part due to Teresa Sanderson’s performance. Teresa’s a tremendous actress–I’ve always known that, and have seen her many times, and have always admired her talent, her humor, her focus and charisma. But this, this is something else again. She held me completely riveted, every single second of the play. So a lot of it is Teresa. But Matt Bennett’s script, my goodness. That voice. That amazing, richly poetic voice. There’s no one else like him in American theatre today. I was talking to a friend afterwards, trying to figure out who else sounds like MIB. Tennessee Williams comes to mind, that gift for unforgettable lines, that gift for metaphor. But Williams always felt, I don’t, closeted to me–locked into his own psycho-sexual obsessions, for doomed and forceful Southern belles and the mean bastards they marry. For Matt, it just feels effortless. It’s not–the man works as hard as any writer I know. But there’s a richness of language in his work that enables him to dig deep into these remarkable characters, helps us know them better than they know themselves . . . Let me say this, though, as a committed and practicing Christian, I place compassion at the top of my list of virtues, and I have never felt more compassion for a fictional character than I did for Eric. I have never seen more humanity expressed than here, in Matthew Ivan Bennett’s script and Teresa Sanderson’s performance and Jerry Rapier’s direction and Cheryl Cluff’s sound design, the whole production. See this play. It will open your mind, and it will open your heart”.
Vamp U. (AKA Limptooth, Dr. Limptooth, Immortality Bites). VOD & Digital release February 12. DVD release March 12. Vampire horror/comedy. Maclain Nelson, director/writer (he has been an actor in various Mormon/Utah movies). T. R. Gourley and Kynan Griffin, producers. Stars Adam Johnson, Julie Gonzalo, and Gary Cole. A college professor vampire is unable to grow his teeth, vampire impotence. Has affair with a co-ed, she turns into vampire, violence ensues. From the previews and the reader reviews, it looks like a fairly crude, violent film. The publicity poster focuses on the co-ed’s chest, rather than her face, if that is any indication.
Winner of BEST HORROR FILM at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival.
Has BEST ACTOR, Adam Johnson, Los Angeles Comedy Festival.
Has BEST ACTRESS, Julie Gonzalo, Los Angeles Comedy Festival.
BlueRay.com: 2 stars (out of 5). ““Vamp U” is a bad film, though not terribly offensive. It’s an attempt to pants Hollywood’s waning vampire obsession with a no-budget production aiming for laughs over mystique, though the potency of the gags leaves much to be desired, and it has a tendency to underline its “Twilight” target with temple-rubbing regularity. Still, on the spectrum of wacky monster comedies starring untested and unknown actors, “Vamp U” retains a modicum of spunk and a few smiles as it goes about its business of slapstick and bloodsuckery. Dial expectations way down, and perhaps writer/directors Matt Jespersen and Maclain Nelson will be able to entertain you for 90 unremarkable but innocuous minutes.”
Cinema-Crazed: 3 stars. “Much more of a great horror film than it is a comedy, “Vamp U” is a clever and entertaining vampire film with some clever storytelling devices, a sharp cast, and great atmosphere that hearkens back to the classic horror trash fests of the eighties. It’s definitely worth watching for anyone in the mood for a film with its tongue firmly planted in cheek.”
“The Ten Most Inspirational Movies of the Year.” Jonathan Decker, Meridian Magazine. 8. Christmas Oranges (PG). Mainstay Productions lovely adaptation of the classic story about charity among orphans is certain to motivate viewers to forgive and let their hearts be softened to alleviate the suffering of others. Read my full review here. 7. Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed (PG-13). Director Ryan Little’s tale of faith and compassion amidst the horrors of war encourages viewers to sacrifice for righteous causes, as well as to love and see the humanity in their enemies. Read my full review here. 6. Redemption (PG). This gritty true-story Western, set in 1800’s Utah Territory, finds a lawman taking pity on an exiled criminal. The film teaches the value of finding the good in others and being a friend to people whom others reject. It also portrays, with gentle clarity, the peace one can find through Jesus Christ. Read my full review here. 5. Silent Night (PG). This beautiful film from acclaimed director Christian Vuissa tells the oft-overlooked tale of how the hymn Silent Night came to be, as an Austrian priest is inspired to write it while serving a new congregation. The film illustrates the power of hope, both in keeping our faith alive and in inspiring us to use our talents to help others. Read my full review here.
New York Times Bestseller Lists, Feb. 24, March 3
#3, #5 A MEMORY OF LIGHT, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (6th week). Still going strong. #5, #9 on the Combined Hardcover and Paperback Fiction list. Fell off the Combined Print and Ebook list, as there is no ebook version yet. #87 on the USA Today list. #5 and #7 on the PW list. Book Scan says 10,257 units were sold last week, for a running total of 242,648 units.
Mass Market Fiction Paperback
x, #13 THE HOST, by Stephanie Meyer (4th week). #23 on the USA Today list.
s, #19. SHADOWS IN FLIGHT, by Orson Scott Card (1st week).
x, #27 ENDER’S GAME, by Orson Scott Card. The MMFP list has become very volatile.
Children’s Middle Grade
x, #14. THE FALSE PRINCE, by Jennifer A. Nielsen (1st week). Makes the list for the first time. The paperback was released, and the second volume comes out March 1st.
THE TWILIGHT SAGA, by Stephenie Meyer. Dropped off after 216 weeks.